Tuesday, July 23, 2013

C'mon, Reporters, Really????? (Yet Again)

Another one? This time (and it was yesterday; just caught it now), Huffington Post gives us a story about how Mike Lee, the Tea Partying Utah Senator, is threatening that Republicans will shut the government down in order to defund the Affordable Care Act.

Down in the story, it is revealed that Lee speaks for a group of a dozen or so Republican Senators. That's not very many! But what the story doesn't tell you is even more important: Mike Lee isn't going to vote for the continuing resolution no matter what. He, and the others in his camp, aren't going to be in any negotiations over a deal to keep the government open. So why should we care how he is characterizing his "no" vote?

This is the third time within a week that I've seen one of these stories. I don't know if they're always out there and I've just noticed, or if it's something else, but: Hey, Reporters! Cut it out! "Senator who everyone knows will vote no threatens to vote no" is just not a story. Really.

(Noticed after I wrote the main item: there may be more to this story -- The Hill has Thune and Cornyn on board with the effort (via Kilgore). That's a real story; neither is absolutely necessary to pass a CR, but it's possible to imagine one or both of them on a deal; remember that an eventual deal needs at least the tacit support of mainstream House conservatives as well as Barack Obama and mainstream Senate liberals. Lee recruits Thune and Cornyn is a story; even Lee and the Tea Partiers put pressure on mainstream conservatives could be a story. Lee holds the CR hostage isn't a story, because Lee isn't going to vote for the CR either way).

12 comments:

  1. You've read your Brendan Nyhan, right, JB? You're not expecting to change perception with information now, are you? Though admittedly, one might expect reporters to be a little more information-susceptible than the public at large.

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  2. Maybe this is something about unanimous content or holds, and the reporter has simply garbled the senator's implication? One senator can hold things up, right?

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  3. Perhaps all true, but if you notice, McCain had to immediately pop up bleating against Lee. That would help draw battle lines, which is likely Lee's fallback position on this. He may not get what he wants policy wise, but he'll force RINOs to identify themselves, for primary challenge purposes.

    The Senate R leadership hasn't had any true conservative outriders for quite some time. They've been a close herd of big spending neocon statists these past 20 years, and Bob Dole has even popped up recently to confirm that he agreed with that big spending statism and wanted more of it today.

    Lee seems to be establishing himself as that conservative outrider, providing leverage and negotiating room, and putting pressure on vulnerable senators of all stripes.

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  4. Jonathan: "neither is absolutely necessary to pass a CR"

    Actually, neither of them is anything like essential. It just takes 6 Republicans to get 60 votes for a CR (after Booker's presumable election in October, it will only take five). McCain, Murkowski, Collins, and Kirk by themselves will get you almost there. And if Corker and Alexander can vote to confirm Tom Perez, one would think they could vote for keeping the government running...

    Anonymous: You want more primary challenges for GOP senators you regard as insufficiently conservative? I'm all with you there! Look how splendidly the successful primary challenge to Lugar worked for the GOP last year!

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    1. It depends on what you call "success", I suppose.

      For conservatives, dumping a status quo incumbent logroller is a worthy exercise, all by itself. That freshman Indiana senator isn't quite what you lefties think he is, by the way, nor is Manchin (not that both can't become statist Beltway hacks quick, because we know they often do)

      This is why that Enzi guy may be going down as well. And Graham is a potential primary victim, too. These incumbents get smoked out, when the Lees of the world play the outrider role.

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    2. David,

      The CR isn't like confirming nominations; it takes the House, too. No bill that gets the Dems plus the Perez six is going to go anywhere in the House.

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  5. I neither expected Donnelly to be another Elizabeth Warren, nor do I want him to be one (I am not all that left-wing). But he is pretty clearly to the left of Lugar. (Donnelly voted for both the stimulus and the ACA, for example--both of which Lugar opposed.) If that's a success, I wish you more of them.

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  6. Again, you're missing the larger picture. It's better for conservatives if the logrolling RINO incumbents get whacked, by any means necessary. They give cover to the Left, and negate more conservative senators.

    Dump Lugar, Snow and a few others, and the Lee and Cruz and Paul contingent suddenly becomes more influential, as the blogger's post indicates. The incumbent Beltway hacks can't use the RINOs to hide behind, in other words.

    Remember, Lugar helped Obama and Pelosi bury the nation in debt. Never forget that. Yes, you can blame the latter for most of it, but the former is responsible as well, and paid the ultimate price, for an incumbent hack. His replacement will be made to feel the heat on all this, if/when he's exposed in any way.

    Remember, it's the long game that's important. State and local elections appear to be going in a conservative direction, so scabbling over one Senate seat or another is pointless. The Left is out of power in the US House for another generation, it would appear, judging by the electorate's quick rejection of them following their brief 2007-2011 occupation. For conservatives now, it's all about building on that secure bridgehead, with conservatives, and not incumbent Beltway RINOs.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, please keep your party going further and further to the right, ad infinitum. What could go wrong?

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    2. When scoring-keeping, i.e. determining who is the most conservative, is more important than keeping the government running, your party loses its value to its stakeholders.

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    3. To that end, you bring up Snowe. The Republican running for her seat after her retirement--with 30% of the vote. Indeed, no Republican has won even 45% of the Maine statewide vote since 1990, except Snowe and Collins.

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    4. But again, Snow doesn't matter, as she's nothing but cover for Beltway hacks of all stripes. Her husband is a corrupt careerist, and subject to federal prosecution, compromising Snow's position. That seat was better going over to the next in line, of whichever stripe. No logrolling incumbents should hold sinecure. Kennedy's and Byrd's dying in office are a national tragedy.

      If "keeping the government running" involves burying the nation in debt, borrowing 43 cents of every dollar spent, and destroying the nation's future, then it's likely best that another course is sought, which is what conservatives appear to be doing now.

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